HAVE THE CONVERSATION It saved my life!
New Zealand Woman's Weekly|March 8, 2021
THE HEALTHY MUM WAS BLINDSIDED BY HER DIAGNOSIS
Karyn Henger

If anyone had asked Chelsea Halliwell five years ago to pose in her underwear for a national bowel cancer awareness campaign, her answer would have been an emphatic no.

But that was before the Christchurch mother-of-two was diagnosed with the illness. Now, having come through the other side of it and been pronounced cancer-free at her five-year check-up last year, she reckons she’d be remiss not to!

As a community ambassador for Bowel Cancer New Zealand, Chelsea, 44, is part of the Bum Huggers’ campaign to raise awareness about the illness, which kills more New Zealanders every year than breast and prostate cancer combined.

“And that means I’m also happy to talk about bums, colonoscopies and blood in your stools,” she tells. “It might feel embarrassing. I mean, it’s bums, right? Who wants to talk about bottoms? But having these conversations actually saves lives.”

WARNING SIGNS

Every day, eight New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer and three die from it. The illness kills more Kiwis than breast and prostate cancer combined. Go straight to your GP if you exhibit any or all of these early warning signs:

• A persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhoea or constipation, or a change in the consistency of your stools

• Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool

• Anaemia

• Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain

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